– Being aggressive on the court means taking chances with a distinguishable amount of confidence.
When the second quarter began visiting Rahway wanted nothing to do with playing host Cranford even as it had done for the first eight minutes.
The Indians took the ball to the hoop and filled it in a variety of ways as the second quarter progressed mightily in their favor. Baskets were produced off offensive rebounds, on layups, from the free throw line, inside and off steals.
Before Cranford knew it the Cougars were down by nine and then by 14 and then by as much as 20. On this day the knockout punch was delivered before halftime.
Rahway outscored Cranford by 20 points in the second quarter, after the game was tied going into the period, en route to producing a more-than-convincing 62-48 triumph in Saturday’s Union County Conference-Valley Division boys basketball opener for both at Cranford’s Martin Gymnasium.
Rahway, which bounced back from Thursday’s 56-53 setback at Carteret, improved to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the Valley Division. Cranford had a two-game winning streak snapped and slipped to 4-2 overall and 0-1 in the Valley Division.
To Cranford’s credit on two occasions in the fourth quarter the Cougars cut Rahway’s lead to 10 only to see the Indians both times go on quick 6-0 runs to build their lead back to 16.
After Cranford sophomore guard Liam Kwiatkowski connected on his second three-pointer to tie the game at 9-9 at the end of the first quarter, Rahway went to work immediately as the second quarter began.
Kenneth Posy scored off a rebound, Amari Thompson on a layup, Ernest Carter and Nasir Arribas off steals and then Jordan Bell hit the first of his two three-pointers to give Rahway a 23-11 lead. A layup by Posy gave the Indians their first lead of 20 at 31-11. A three-pointer at the second quarter buzzer by Posy gave Rahway its second 20-point advantage at 34-14.
Rahway began the second quarter on a 9-0 run before Cranford junior Arjun Petgrave scored off a rebound with just 4:22 to go before halftime. Rahway produced a 22-2 surge before Petgrave scored inside again, was fouled, and then made the ensuing free throw for a three-point play.
“Even though we were playing well in that second quarter we were still making little mistakes,” said Rahway senior forward Tahlee Bailey, who finished with 10 points and nine rebounds. “We were talking to each other, which was good, because we knew they were still in the game.”
Rahway proved to be the much quicker team in the second quarter and forced Cranford out of its game offensively the entire first half, with the Cougars committing 12 turnovers.
“When we played in zone we were able to shut them down for the most part,” Bailey said. “We got a lot of steals off it.”
Bailey and Arribas both had two steals in the first half, with the Indians preventing the Cougars from scoring in double digits in both of the first two quarters.
At the half, Rahway had nine players who scored at least two points. By game’s end four of Rahway’s starters finished in double-figures, with Thompson leading all Indians with 12, Posy next with 11 and Carter and Bailey with 10.
Petgrave led all scorers with 16 points, while Cranford junior guard Joe Carrea was next with 14 and teammate Kwiatkowski had 13.
Cranford did its best to chip away at Rahway’s lead by outscoring the Indians 18-14 in the third quarter.
After Rahway opened the scoring in the fourth quarter with an inside basket by Bailey, the Cougars went on an 8-0 run to pull to within 10 at 50-40 with 4:46 to go. However, Rahway answered quickly with a 6-0 run of its own, all six points scored by Thompson.
Cranford again got to within 10 one final time at 56-46 with 2:17 remaining before the Indians answered with another 6-0 run.
Rahway was anxious to wash away the bad feeling of Thursday’s three-point loss at Carteret.
“We didn’t play as a team that night,” Bailey said. “We didn’t have a lot of energy or fight. We had that today. We knew we had to eliminate our mistakes.”
UNION COUNTY CONFERENCE-VALLEY DIVISION
BOYS BASKETBALL AT CRANFORD’S MARTIN GYMNASIUM
Rahway (4-1, 1-0) 09 25 14 14 – 62
Cranford (4-2, 0-1) 09 05 18 16 – 48
RAHWAY INDIANS (62):
3-Ernest Carter, junior, 5-0-0-10
11-Tahlee Bailey, senior, 4-0-2-10
2-Amari Thompson, junior, 5-0-2-12
30-Kenneth Posy, sophomore, 4-1-0-11
12-Jayson Gonzalez, senior, 0-2-0-6
32-Jordan Bell, senior, 0-2-1-7
4-Jarid Vertil, senior, 1-0-0-2
14-Nasir Arribas, junior, 1-0-0-2
23-Leon Lawson, junior, 1-0-0-2
Starters: Bailey, Bell,
Carter, Thompson, Posy.
CRANFORD COUGARS (48):
10-Joe Carrea, junior, 3-1-5-14
3-Matt Bush, sophomore, 0-1-0-3
2-Arjun Petgrave, junior, 5-0-6-16
12-Liam Kwiatkowski, sophomore, 0-4-1-13
5-Dennis DeMarino, junior, 1-0-0-2
1-Cole Blazek, senior, 0-0-0-0
23-Lukas Ruby, sophomore, 0-0-0-0
4-Jack Connolly, junior, 0-0-0-0
Starters: Petgrave, Carrea,
DeMarino, Blazek, Ruby.